Alistair Brownlee has confirmed he will follow Olympic gold by having a crack at the richest prize in triathlon – the £96,000 ($150,000) top purse at Hy-Vee in Iowa.
With the chance of retaining his ITU world title thwarted by an early season Achilles injury, the Yorkshireman, 24, will look to put any post-Olympic fatigue behind him when he competes in Des Moines on 2 September.
Brownlee has been handed a wildcard for the non-drafting Olympic distance race which is part of the 5150 series run by the World Triathlon Corporation – who also operate the Ironman brand.
However, he admits full-on media commitments and returning home an Olympic hero has taken its toll, both mentally and physically.
“I feel like I’m struggling with motivation,” says Alistair. “But one of the big reasons I want to race Hy-Vee now is because they have given me a wildcard to do it after the Olympics and I’m never going to do enough races to do it otherwise.
“I’m not as fit as I was couple of weeks ago but it’s important to have another goal and not just another World Series race. I think Des Moines is a good move, it’s a different thing to do.”
The race regularly attracts a stellar cast hoping for a big payday and the news of Alistair’s appearance will send a shudder through the pro field – many of whom are regularly left fighting for the the leftovers after the Brownlees have nabbed the $20,000 and $14,000 on offer for first and second in World Triathlon Series races.
Alistair may be inexperienced at the non-drafting format but it did not stop three-time Olympian Tim Don being successful in 2010 and Australian and US citizen Greg Bennett won last year at the ripe-old age of 39.
While Alistair chases the cheque in the USA, his brother’s focus is firmly fixed on the ITU World Series with races in Stockholm this Saturday and the Grand Final in Auckland on 21 October giving him a shot at keeping the world title in the family.
It means no chance for any post-Olympic malaise to set in. “I felt a bit sad but haven’t had time to stop yet,” says Jonny. “I also think it’s good me racing Stockholm and Alistair racing Des Moines. It’s something else.
“Then I’m going to race in France and try and become world champion in Auckland.
“I feel more liberated racing without Alistair there. In training I know how fit he is, when I compete against others I don’t know how fast they are.
“It’s more of an unknown. I also do my own tactics a bit more. Normally when Alistair’s not there the bike is a little easier, especially at the start and the start of the run is definitely a little bit slower.”
Whether his older brother travels to New Zealand is not yet certain. “I don’t feel I’ve got anything to gain from going to Auckland,” continues Alistair. “I change my mind every day at the moment.”
And what would happen if Jonny needed to win the race to take the title but Alistair was first to hit the finish chute?
“It’s technically illegal to slow down, that would be race fixing,” before adding with a mischievous grin. “But there’s little to stop me pulling a hamstring.”